Triathlon: Pugh heads off young guns

Michael Pugh may be in his early 40s but his competitive edge and superb conditioning mean he can still take out the next generation of triathlon young guns.

The Tauranga athlete comfortably won the Coronation Classic Sprint Triathlon in front of Tony Emett and Greg Thompson in mild conditions at Mount Maunganui yesterday morning.

It was his third consecutive victory in the tri-series, which he said was a great success but tough at times.

He particularly enjoyed the bike leg course around Totara St and the industrial area, rather then the conventional Marine Parade route.

"The Surfbreaker was undoubtedly the toughest with that swim in the big surf, as I got hammered coming into the shore," said Pugh.

"Pilot Bay is always pretty much the same but I liked that bike course today because it was four laps and you can pace yourself a bit better. It was a good solid effort and to be fair I have been on form ever since the worlds and am starting to taper off a bit so if anyone wants to beat me they should come down to the next race.

"The series here is important for me because I like to test my fitness and come down here and support local events."

Pugh is keen to give back to the sport where possible and will be mentoring students at Pillans Point Primary ahead of the Weet-Bix TRYathlon on March 24. "It is awesome to be involved and help out. Great to see so many kids getting into the sport."

In the women's series, Sarah Backler had won the first two events but was unable to compete in the Coronation Classic, allowing Terri Mann to take the overall title even though she finished second behind Lydia Hale yesterday.

Mann, 29, who is a former top equestrian rider, is a long distance triathlon expert and will compete at the world championships in France in June.

She said the summer triathlon series had been a wonderful test of her fitness and form and she enjoyed the changed course for the Coronation Classic.

"I haven't done it before and it was something different in the bike leg. There were more corners today which means decelerating and accelerating more, plus you have the train tracks to be careful over, so more obstacles. The four laps made it more interesting and I really enjoyed it."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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